The SLAC Summer Institute Wine List:

By JoAnne Hewett | September 13, 2005 2:41 pm

By popular demand, here is the wine list from the 2005 SLAC Summer Institute (SSI). One of my duties as SSI program co-director is to choose the wine that we serve with the Institute dinners. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.

It really isn’t so easy. Honestly. We have a strict budget. I can’t just order a case or two of Chateau Margaux! (Actually, I’ve never had the pleasure of tasting Chateau Margaux….sigh.) I have to average around $6.00/bottle. And, I must admit, I know little about wines that cost $6.00/bottle. And, I can’t serve just any everyday plonk – I have a reputation to maintain! So, to ensure quality, I taste. As I said, it’s a tough job… I start looking for bargains a few months in advance. Whenever I see something interesting, and cheap, I buy a bottle. I taste it immediately, and if it passes muster, I immediately return to buy a bunch. Good cheap wine sells out quickly and you gotta be fast. All in all, I usually taste about 2-3 cases worth. (Yes, at my own expense.) Sometimes I end up running to the sink to spit the stuff out. Sometimes I end up buying some bottles for myself.

So….drumroll please….here is the 2005 list. Average cost $6.29/bottle.


Meridian Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County – 2004, $5.99
Grand Cru Chardonnay – 2003, $4.99
Sartarelli Verdicchio – 2003, $4.99
Aranacio Grillo – 2003, $5.99
Kenwood Sauvignon Blanc – 2004, $8.99


Charamba Duoro Tinto – 2000, $5.99
Bogle Old Vines Zinfandel – 2003, $8.98
Columbia Crest Merlot, Grand Estaters – 2001, $8.99
Deakin Shiraz – 2004, $6.99
Rosemount Estate Shiraz (Diamond Label) – 2003, $7.99
Marques de Riscal Tempranillo – 1999, $7.99

  • hack

    Where do you do your wine shoping?

    And have you ever been accused of casting pearls before swine?

  • collin

    hey, a wine post! yea! i have this odd feeling that i have to comment, so here goes:

    1. i can now put a feather in my cap b/c i’ve tasted chateau margaux. granted, it was only a taste of ’99 margaux when the vintage was released at a tasting of ’99 bordeauxs. i was very impressed, but i’m probably very easily impressed when it comes to classified growth bordeaux. yeah, i know, it’s not much of a feather…

    2. have you tried any wines from around provence, specifically nimes? these are favorites of mine in the under $10 price range, where i certainly am almost always buying. also some sicilian wines can be good for around there. and i’m just about to finish off a case of a $3 french vin ordinaire, which i was pretty fond of (well, at least for $3).

    3. any comments on the Charamba Duoro Tinto? it’s the most interesting wine on that list to me…

  • JoAnne

    Hack – I generally shop at K&L Wine Merchants and the Wine Club.

    Collin – too bad it wasn’t the 2000! Yes, I enjoy wines from Provence, I just didn’t find any for the Institute this year. The Duoro and the Temparillo were both great!

  • Anne

    If you do ever get a chance to taste a Margaux, jump on it. I had the good fortune to share an ’82 with a friend and her wine connoisseur father a few years ago, and it was divine.

    Care to comment further on the Rosemount?

  • collin

    eh, i’ll take what i can get. and thanks for the suggestion on the duoro. i’ve yet to try a portugese wine, so i should probably get around to it, considering this seems to be right around my budget…

  • Steinn Sigurdsson

    Margaux is well worth it – you need to go to better class of meetings! 😉
    I once managed to get a Cambridge cellarmaster to prove by experiment that his favourite Margaux vintage was better than the one I had been offered at the previous stop. He was right, they had a better cellar.

    Try TJs for surprisingly good wines at bargain prices; or go directly to the wineries, if in doubt go to Bonny Doon! Eclectic but fabulous. Don’t know that you can get down to $6 per bottle for anything though ( ) easy drive from SLAC. Looks like they’re all above $10 per bottle though.

  • Richard

    It’s difficult to find a good bottle of dry, complex, full bodied wine under $10, but there are many bargains in the $11 to $14 class. C^{o}tes du Rh^{o}ne wines are often good values.

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